Marketers, which includes real estate agents, builders, retail stores, restaurants, etc. are competing with tons of advertising messages every single day for the consumer’s attention. In light of today’s information glut, that means there’s a shortage of attention and time to hear all the messages swirling around. Consumers therefore are ignoring even good messages and are less willing to volunteer their time to be interrupted by what you and I as marketers have to say or offer.
Marketing expert, Seth Godin, describes this as “Interruption Marketing.” This is marketing that interrupts with a hard sale or boring approach that not only wastes the time of the consumer, but causes them to tune us out as well. This type of marketing is doomed. There is an alternative though, which offers the consumer an opportunity to volunteer to be marketed to. It’s quite different and involves hard work, great ideas, strategy, and talent.
That alternative is Permission Marketing. Permission Marketing encourages consumers to participate in long-term, interactive marketing campaigns in which they are rewarded in some way for paying attention to increasingly relevant and timely messages. One important aspect of permission marketing is always looking for opportunities to find new and engaging ways to reach customers, build a pathway to developing trust, and earn attention.
Dr. Theodore Levitt, renowned economist and Harvard Business School professor said, “The purpose of a company is to create and keep customers.” So how do we as marketers create new customers? The answer is simple and unequivocal: in order to compete we must create a sticky user experience that generates positive brand value while building long-term loyalty. This is accomplished with a marketing strategy that involves games and contests.
Survey the local businesses in your city. Do any cut through the clutter of a crowded brand marketplace and socially networked environment to attract, retain, and monetize the customer relationship like no other? Most likely not. The same can be said for most businesses, including real estate companies, dentists, home builders, veterinarians, grocery stores, etc. If your permission marketing strategy is anticipated, personal, and relevant, let me show you why games and contests help you win new customers.
Why Games and Contests Win
- It is sticky content that wins. The basic concept is that stickiness is a qualitative measure, most closely aligned with two standard Internet metrics: time spent on a site and the number of repeat visits per user. When you consider those statistics together, you get a composite view of a site’s stickiness. How sticky is your site? As products and services become more and more commoditized, it is loyalty that keeps people buying. Loyalty is the consumers’ expression of brand preference and their repayment of the equity you’ve invested in the relationship. On the web, the stickiest sites are sites that engage you and not just inform you.
- A sticky user experience generates positive brand value and cash while building long-term loyalty. People only buy when they are ready. My business partner, Don Dalrymple says you are not going to be sold another TV unless you want to buy another TV. There is nothing a salesperson is going to be able to do to make that sale happen sooner. The same is said for just about everything. For example, if I am going to buy a house, is a real estate agent going to make me do it if I’m not ready? No way. However if a real estate company has engaged me in things that are meaningful and exciting to me (i.e. games, contests, stories), when I am ready or know of someone who is ready to buy, my expression of brand preference will be to that company who invested equity in the relationship. Information on closing costs is not valuable to me until I’m ready to buy. But until I am ready to buy, engage me in something that keeps my attention and in turn builds loyalty for your investment in me.
- The belief that they will someday win those rewards is exactly the type of motivation that gives games and contests power. People want to hear and be reminded of great stories. Stories that are memorable. Stories that go viral. For example, a contest we are currently running for one of our customers has a person who liked the contest so much that it went viral to their network and 326 friends of this person have visited the contest site and participated in the contest! In the same contest another person has 315 friends who have done the same. For another customer we promote their winners in their weekly newsletter. Each week there is a tremendous spike in new activity directly related to the contest and stories of winners.
- Contests provide leads and information about your next customers. We call this an exchange of value. The prospect provides information you would like to have as a marketer. And in exchange the prospective customer gets an opportunity that is of value to them. For example, a real estate company that has information about my intentions of buying or selling a home gets to use the information they have and get a head start on building loyalty as well as a date on what and when to approach me. The real estate company that is only playing to the interests of immediate buyers will lose to the company who uses this approach.
- Contests extend the reach of your network quickly. A winning contest site combined with social media is power. This past week we extended the reach of a contest by 1,988 people, which was a 63.89 percent increase over the prior week. It generated for our customer 5 new prospects who are ready to buy within 30 days, 2 new prospects within 90 days, 4 new prospects within 4 to 6 months, and 45 new prospects within 7 to 12 months.
Here’s the takeaway:
- Not all contests are the same. If done right can.
- The trend is to mesh games/contests with marketing.
- Everything must be made more fun or you are ignored. Why can’t real estate (put your business here) be fun?
- Contests and games are levers used to drive user behavior.
- Contests can be tailored to meet specific business objectives. This is especially powerful if combined with process and automation.
Will you wait until your competitor has an edge on you? Learn more about how we integrate this into a winning platform for growing your business and increasing sales.